Citigroup and Morgan Stanley to Share Custody of Smith Barney


As expected, as part of its new plan for getting its life together in 2009 (You go, Vikram!), Citigroup has spun off its Smith Barney retail brokerage unit into a joint venture with Morgan Stanley. They’ll use a typical joint-custody model: Citi will accept $2.7 billion in support payments and will continue to own 49 percent of the unit, Morgan Stanley will take on the larger share of the work and will make the occasional snide comment about how Citi “thinks money grows on trees.” As if this won’t be traumatizing enough, the unit will be saddled with what may be one of the ugliest hyphenates of all time: Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Someone’s going to need therapy. [WSJ]